Yes, I am Sex-Positive. No, I Do Not Want to Have Sex With You.
Last weekend, I saw a meme of a text conversation that was essentially a guy saying, “You’re majoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality? So that means you like sex, right?”
That is the distillation of the willful misunderstanding that is both the impetus for and the result of blogging about sex, but being confronted with the conflation of sex positivity and individual DTF-ness is also the materialization of my worst fear that surrounds writing about sex.
In my mind, it is crystal clear. I grew up being told my body is not my own, so now I advocate for women being the sole proprietors of their own bodies; ergo, I write about it because it occupies (in a good way) a lot of my mental and emotional space.
To people who cannot compartmentalize the concept of women’s sexual autonomy and how women actually choose to practice that autonomy, however, even spelling it out won’t make a difference in their interpretation.
I am aware that what I write is an invitation for disagreement, but even then, I’m heartened by earnest attempts to engage with opposing viewpoints. (Notice I said “earnest,” not “in such a way that paints me as a naive, godless slut.”) The fact that being open and honest about female sexuality and its many nuances is polarizing in the first place is evidence of patriarchy — no, it’s a desired outcome of patriarchy. Defending the equal validity of all levels of female sexual activeness is simply a distraction even if it is a necessary one. The real issue for me arises when talking about sex in any capacity is seen as an invitation for objectification. Sex shapes my behaviors and my worldview, but I am not my vagina. I’m just acknowledging reality instead of continuing to suppress it. I’m not inviting a proposition.
But, of course, somehow I am because on more than one occasion, I’ve received a message along the lines of “Hey, I read your blog and noticed we live in the same area. I figured you’re pretty casual about sex, so I was wondering if we could hook up.” (I’ve done some heavy edits for clarity and eloquence.)
I just don’t understand. The unadulterated presumption astonishes me every time. Even though I don’t take it personally, maybe I’m just being sensitive. Maybe “boys will be boys.” Maybe men are just victims of their own insatiability (boo hoo).
Yeah, I like sex and tend to not read too much into it, but that doesn’t render me without discernment. (!) I am not in any way passing judgment on how or when or why or with whom people have sex (within the bounds of consent obviously); I mean to say that men who are so blinded by sexual entitlement that they can make female sexual agency about them are a problem even if they can construe their propositions as innocent and genuine attempts at conversation. Ha. I don’t think so.
This may come as a shock to some people, but I’ll just say it:
CHOOSING TO RECLAIM YOUR SEXUAL AGENCY AND AUTONOMY DOES NOT MEAN SUDDENLY BEING OPEN TO ALL THINGS AT ALL TIMES WITH ALL PEOPLE.
(Of course, it can mean that, and that’s totally fine. The assumption — no, expectation — that it does, however, is the issue.)
BUT REGARDLESS, IT IS CERTAINLY NOT AN INVITATION FOR OBJECTIFICATION.
I get the feeling that the perception of women who write about sex is that they spend their free time putting the finishing touches on their sex dungeons and nursing the carpal tunnel that resulted from compulsive right-swiping. Maybe that’s the case for some of them, but — not that it matters — a lot of sex things still freak me out. I still have a lot of hurdles to overcome. I cannot always integrate what I believe about sexual agency, autonomy, and validity on principle into my life. Some elementary things still make me want to curl up in ball and hide in the corner of my room, not because I don’t theoretically want to do them, but because I haven’t shaken off all the internalized shame owning that I actually know what I want.
If people can’t let women talk about sex without reducing them to what they’ll do sex-wise and with whom they’ll do it, then it’s just more evidence of the progress we have yet to make.
If women reclaiming their sexuality is framed as something done in service of the male gaze (even if it actually is on an individual level … that’s a whole different thing), it just shows how entrenched the patriarchy is in our culture.
Adult women revealing that they’ve had sex should not be anything worth noting, but in a world where a revelation like that invites the assumption that it is open season on their vaginas, it can be radical. Our collective obsession with the virgin-whore complex doesn’t allow women to be sexual, while also being other things. I wake up, get dressed, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch Netflix, then go to bed; but I also blog about sex, so surely my deepest, truest desire is to be propositioned for sex in my DMs by total strangers who read “I run a blog predominately about female sexuality” as “I’m DTF always in all ways.”
We want a lady in the streets but a freak in the sheets (sorry), but we cannot — for the life of us! — see how putting pressure on women to be both of those things is damaging. No one can reasonably expect that the constant shaming and blaming of women for simply existing in female bodies in the streets will result in women who are completely comfortable with themselves and their desires in the sheets.
So if you operate under the assumption that women who talk about sex want to have sex with you specifically and are asking — no, begging — you to initiate a dick appointment (or if you are someone who may not personally slide into our DMs but also assumes the aforementioned), you are one of the many reasons I blog about sex. No, that is not a compliment.
I am aware this is blatantly cis-heteronormative. Feel free to add different perspectives in the comment section. Thanks! :)